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Student turns to well-wishers after failing to get Govt bursary

UNZA

JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
AFTER being left out of a government bursary scheme for university education, Benson Nyirenda has now turned to well-wishers for help him fulfil his dream of becoming the first graduate in his extended family.
A total of 5,439 mostly school-leavers had applied for Government sponsorship at the University of Zambia, but only 2,009 were picked for sponsorship.
Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo said due to budgetary constraints, the ministry could only manage to support a total of 2,009 students for the 2016/2017 academic year.
Benson, 21, said his parents cannot afford to pay the K22,000 per year required by the learning institution.
His father works as a fuel pump attendant and earns less than K1,000, while his mother is unemployed.
Benson was selected in the school of education at the University of Zambia, although his dream was to study medicine.
“My dream has always been to study medicine, and that is what I applied for,” Benson said.
But he said he felt like the end of life when he was left out of the bursary scheme.
Benson’s uncle, Michael Nkhoma, who makes a hard living mending old tyres from a roadside stall, sees in Benson a bridge to get his family out of poverty.
“When we are talking about poverty, it can only be eradicated through education,” he said.
But he wonders how his nephew was left out of the scheme, and senses unfairness in the selection process.
“If the vulnerable are left out, they will remain vulnerable,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma said if Benson goes to university, he will break the record in his family.
“But now that he was left out, it is the cry of the whole family and we are praying and hoping that he will be included,” he said.
Benson appealed his case to the bursaries committee, and is now awaiting a second consideration.

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